Activity Snapshot: 

  • Part of Outdoor Living Skills is learning new skills, but also diligently practicing the skills that you have to continue to improve. This week we are going to track our growth in one particular skill- knot tying! 

We use bowlines to attach painter lines to our canoes and create ridgelines for tarps. (Central Quebec Canoe I, 2018)

  • You might remember the bowline knot from the tarp set up video from Week #1. Watch your confidence grow as you improve on tying this knot throughout the week and set goals and challenges for yourself. If you master the bowline, think of another outdoor skill you want to continue to develop. Growth and learning is a lifelong practice!


Create an appreciation for repetition and practice leading to growth and master a new skill (tying a bowline knot).

Time Recommended:

30 minute introduction, plus 30 extra minutes spread throughout the week


Length of rope or string for knot tying practice.


  1. Watch videos and read instructions about how to tie a bowline (see important references section).
  2. Set goals for yourself and create a system to keep track of your progress. This could be tally marks or a photo album with pictures of each bowline or a chart describing what you did. Some examples of goals could include:
    1. Tie a bowline 10, 20, or 100 times.
    2. Be able to complete the knot without instructions or assistance.
    3. Tie a bowline in 10 different types of ropes/string. (Be creative here!)
    4. Tie a bowline with your eyes closed.
    5. Tie a bowline with your toes!
  3. Get to practicing and keep track of how many times this week you can successfully tie (and untie) a bowline.
  4. Bonus activity: Once you have mastered the bowline, think about another outdoor living skill you want to practice throughout the summer, like learning other knots, setting up a tent, building a campfire, getting faster at stuffing your sleeping bag, or washing dishes.

Important References:

  • Here are some other visuals and videos to help you tie a bowline:
A bowline knot makes a secure loop at the end of a piece of rope. It can be used to secure one end of a ridgeline or tie up a boat. Under load, it will not slip or bind up. Two bowlines can be linked together to join two ropes. It cannot be tied or untied when there is weight on the standing end

Closing Questions:

  1. What is another skill you’ve had to practice a lot to improve upon?
  2. Think about what references helped you learn this knot best. Did the diagram, videos or assistance from a family member help you learn this skill? What does this tell you about what kind of learner you are?

Share with your Community:

Share the funniest way you tied a bowline knot and a picture collage of all the different bowlines tied! Your knots can be shared in our community galleries on the website. Yours could even be published in an end of summer edition of the Chronicle!

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